The Qurbani festival celebrates the sacrifice that Prophet Ibrahim (AS) was prepared to make as a sign of his devotion to Allah (SWT). Ibrahim (AS) was prepared to sacrifice his son, Ismael (AS), but was blindfolded so as not to see him suffer as he carried out the slaughter. Upon removing the blindfold, Ibrahim (AS) discovered that his son’s life was spared in an act of mercy by Allah (SWT), with a goat taking Ismael’s (AS) place.
Qurbani (also known as Udhiyah) is an act of sacrifice that Muslims perform during Eid al-Adha and the subsequent three days. (The three days after Eid al-Adha are known as the days of Tashreeq).
Muslims carry out the Qurbani in commemoration of the tremendous sacrifice that Prophet Ibraheem (alaihi salaam) was willing to make. Allaah mentions in the Quran: “And, when he (Ismaeel) was old enough to walk with him, he said: ‘O my son! I have seen in a dream that I am slaughtering you, so look what you think!’ He said: ‘O my father! Do that which you are commanded, Insha Allaah, you shall find me of As-Sabirin.” (As-Saffat 37:102)
The dreams of the Prophets are true, so as soon as he had seen this dream, ProphetIbraheem (alaihi salaam) knew it was revelation from Allaah. The story continues: “Then, when they had both submitted themselves, and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead; And We called out to him: ‘O Ibraheem! You have fulfilled the dream!’ Verily! Thus, do We reward the doers of good.” So, Prophet Ibraheem and his son fulfilled the dream, they submitted themselves to Allaah and prepare themselves to carry out his command – once they did this, Allaah informed them that there was no need for the human sacrifice, Prophet Ibraheem had passed the test. Allaah presented him (alayhi salaam) with a ram to sacrifice instead. Ibn al-Qayyim said regarding this: ” The purpose wasn’t for Ibrahim to kill his son, rather it was to sacrifice him in his heart, so all love belonged to Allaah alone.”
On the day of ‘Eid al-Adha that we remember the sacrifice of Prophet Ibrahim (alayhisalaam), and we reflect on what made him to be the strongest of the believers, a close friend of Allaah, someone whom Allaah has blessed and a leader of all the nations that follow.